So I was cleaning out the freezer, getting ready for Passover, and rediscovered a forgotten container of leftover soup chicken. Ooh! Perfect for a casserole or tacos or something equally exotic. So I tossed it into the fridge to defrost, and to give me time to figure out what exactly to do with it.
A few days later Pi Day happened. And since there is no rule that pies have to be sweet, a savory Chicken Pot Pie would be perfectamente! Except for one slight problem: I'm terrible at making tender, flaky crusts. So I instead topped the filling with drop biscuits instead. No rolling, no cutting, just a little scooping. Totally easy and very delicious! Even crust-haters ask for seconds.
If/when you skip down to the recipe part, note that several ingredients are missing from a standard pot pie -- potatoes, mushrooms, celery, and dairy products. Peas are not even given a chance. theHubs either can't eat or doesn't eat those items, and I didn't feel like making two versions. I love cooking (and Hubs, not necessarily in that order), but I am not a cafeteria.
But you know what? It was still real REAL good! Good enough to share with you, Dear Readers. Enough flavor that you won't really notice too much of a difference.
So when it came to posting the recipe, life got in the way and I forgot to post the recipe in time for Pi Day. Luckily there is no law forbidding anyone from enjoying this classic comfort food pretty much any other time of the year.
I've tried making the biscuits with various non-dairy milks, and the best IMHO are made with coconut milk ... the boxed "beverage" style. The little bit of fat makes a better biscuit than when using rice milk, and doesn't have that musty taste that most almond milks seem to have (to me, anyway). Of course, if you love almond milk, go nuts. :D
Chicken 'n Dairy-Free "Buttermilk" Biscuits
Yield: 5-6 servings
2 cups unbleached flour, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbl. cold dairy-free margarine, cut up, divided
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 1/2 cup refrigerated coconut milk, divided (plus an additional 1/4 cup, if needed)
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon chopped garlic from a jar)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup baby carrots, lightly chopped
4 cup leftover cooked chicken (preferably from chicken soup), chopped or shredded
1 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. Spritz a 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a food processor, add 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the baking powder and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add 1/4 cup margarine; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in 3/4 cup of the coconut milk; continue to pulse just until dough forms a ball. Add up to 1/4 cup more of the coconut milk if mixture is too dry to come together. Leave dough in the food processor so it doesn't dry out, and set aside.
Place a 3 or 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons margarine along with the olive oil. When margarine has melted and begins to bubble, add onion. Saute onions for 4 minutes or until they start to soften. Stir in garlic; continue to saute 30 additional seconds.
Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup flour; continue to whisk continuously for 5 minutes or until flour starts to become golden brown.
Slowly whisk in broth (to avoid lumps). When sauce begins to thicken, add carrots; continue to gently stir for 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium; gently stir in chicken, celery seeds, thyme and black pepper. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken has warmed through. Add additional 1/4 cup coconut milk if mixture is too thick.
Transfer chicken mixture into prepared baking dish. Immediately drop 10-12 scoops of biscuit dough (about 1/4 cup each) in a single layer on top.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes on center oven rack or until biscuits are golden brown. If after 25 minutes the topping is not browned enough to your preference, move baking dish to top shelf, then turn on broiler for 1-2 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool 10-15 minutes before serving.